Working from home can be an interesting beast to slay. From the ever-present temptation to stay in pajamas all day long to the enormous lack of productive company, having a zero second commute presents its own special set of challenges. But since it's officially March, I've decided to give my tiny little at-home work space some much needed TLC, because improving your home office can breathe new life into your creative process, or at least encourage a little extra productivity.
My boyfriend and I turned our apartment's second bedroom into a music studio, and that process taught me everything I know about workspace ergonomics — keyboard trays, neutral neck and elbow set ups, and, frankly, the importance of not having all of your gear just flopping around precariously. But it took me almost three years to bite the bullet and build my own space specifically for working. To be more specific, I got myself a desk ages ago with the intention of using it for actual work, and have pretty much worked in the living room or at the kitchen table every day since.
Enter Satechi — a stylish office supply and gadget company that makes awesome metallic gear to improve both the flyness and workability quotients (technical terms, duh) of your workspace. I was inspired by its wonderfully shiny metallic series to give my desk the makeover that it has so long been in need of. This morning, it looked like this:
You know, not great. It was clean, but really not inspiring. But, that would soon change. Before I reveal the final results, here are six tips for improving your home workspace.
1. Get a mouse
It doesn't have to be a mouse that you can take a selfie in, but that probably helps. Having an old school wired mouse gives your wrist a much-needed break from all of the twisting, pinching, and otherwise uncomfortable motions one must repeat when using a trackpad. A mouse also keeps your shoulder neutral since you don't have to reach across your upper body to reach it.
2. Put your screen where you can look straight at it
Sitting with your head pointed down at a screen puts a shocking amount of stress on your neck and trapezius muscles, and is the source of that nagging shoulder and upper back pain. With a more ergonomic placement of your screen, you can sit with your neck straight and save yourself a lot of aches now and injuries later. Plus, getting your screen up where a screen belongs looks great from a purely aesthetic point of view.
3. Have at least one living plant on your desk at all times
Nothing brings life to a space faster than actual life. Even if it's just a tiny succulent or some cut flowers, a plant will help clean the air in your home office and literally inspire greater productivity.
4. Hang some art
Is there anything more depressing and sterile than a blank wall? Even dentists' offices have art in them.
5. Hide. The. Cables.
Cables are a messy eyesore, and if they don't have someplace to hide, you will trip over them, kick them, or accidentally unplug a hard drive before ejecting it, losing all of your important files and archived photos that were too scandalous for Facebook. So hide the cables, for the love of all things organizational.
6. Work on your chair situation
An office chair can be harder to find than the perfect pair of jeans because there are just so many variables. From the height of your desk to the length of your torso, your general posture to your fidgeting habits, you'll have to go meet some office chairs in person to sort out this puzzle. I'm still in the process of find the right office chair for me as a super short person with ballet posture and a proclivity for twisting around and/or sitting cross-legged in my chair.
When my home office was officially spring-cleaned, with the obvious exception of finding Mr. Right Office Chair, it was incomparably more comfortable, ergonomic, and inspiring. Here's the finished product.
Happy spring cleaning, everybody.
Images: Jessica Learish